Over the years, I have read at least 500 books dealing with various aspects of life after death – books on mediumship, near-death experiences, reincarnation, apparitions, death-bed visions, and other paranormal phenomena suggesting that consciousness exists independent of the brain. In addition, I have read parts of another 500 or so books in this general subject area. When a friend recently asked me to name what I consider to be the top five of all those books I have read, I pondered only briefly before telling him that the two books by Vice-Admiral William Usborne Moore – Glimpses of the Next State and The Voices – would definitely be among the top five, possibly even one and two on my list. Both books are filled with amazing phenomena strongly suggesting spirits and, concomitantly, life after death.
When he wrote a small book titled The Cosmos and the Creeds, Moore, a retired British navy officer who had command of six surveying vessels before his retirement, attacked the teachings of the churches and expressed doubt as to the reality of a future life. “At the time I thought that such immortality as man possessed lay in the influence his actions, words, or writings had upon those who were his contemporaries, or who came after him; but that he himself, as an individual conscious entity, disappeared forever, not to be recognized again,” he wrote eight years later in Glimpses of the Next State, published 100 years ago this year.
Soon after the first book was published, Moore began to have misgivings about his agnosticism, as he had not investigated sources of evidence outside the narrow confines of the churches. Once he began investigating mediums late 1904, his views changed. “To be brief, I found that the deeper I went into the study of spiritism the more apparent it became that, whether he wished it or not, man’s individuality was not extinguished at death,” Moore, who went by his middle name, explained. “I read books, visited clairvoyants, and attended séances for materialization. Through all I was constantly reminded of the existence of a near and dear relative, older than myself, who passed away thirty-seven years ago in the prime of her life. Her continued reappearances could only lead me to one conclusion: I was being guided to a reconsideration of the problem of immortality.”
Moore referred to the deceased relative as “Iola,” explaining that she herself adopted the spirit name to avoid any unpleasant complications among friends and relatives still living who were not educated in spiritism. He pointed out that his investigation into spiritism was not prompted by any desire for consolation as he had not lost anyone other than his father many years before and was certainly not grieving and wanting to believe. His desire was simply to get at the truth. Moore concluded that as a surveyor, interested in detail and exactness, he was as qualified as anyone to investigate the subject matter.
While clearly aware that there were many charlatans posing as mediums, Moore proceeded cautiously. He explored mediumship in England and made three trips to the United States to sit with various mediums there. He experienced both physical and mental mediumship. Sitting with Joseph B. Jonson of Toledo, Ohio, he witnessed many materializations, including his father and mother. “In these there was no possibility of error,” he wrote, mentioning that his father’s characteristic “iron duke” nose stood out and that he saw him in good light. At one séance, he observed as many as 25 spirit forms emerge from the materialization cabinet and was certain that there were no trap doors of any kind in which confederates in costumes could have been admitted. They came in all sizes and shapes.
At a Jonson séance on February 1, 1909, 19 spirits manifested, 10 of them for Moore, including his father, mother, and Iola. “During this séance, I saw several spirits dematerialize,” he recorded. “Some descended into the floor slowly and, so to speak naturally. It was possible to follow their heads with the eye until the shoulders were level with the carpet. Others doubled up before they dissipated, and a few fell over on one side.”
While Moore sat with dozens of gifted mediums, Etta Wriedt of Detroit, Michigan may have been the most gifted. “For my part I can only say that, in her presence, I obtained evidence of the next state of consciousness so clear and so pronounced that the slightest doubt was no longer possible,” he offered. “I left her house in February 1911 in the condition of mind of a man who no longer fosters ‘belief,’ but who knows what is his destiny when the tomb closes over him and his spirit leaves the earth plane.”
Author of The Afterlife Revealed &
The Articulate Dead
About the author
Publisher: White Crow Books
Published November 2011
Size: 229 x 152 mm